NEW ORLEANS — Maine’s night in the city known as the Big Easy turned into the Big Tease-y.

Tulane rolled back an early Black Bears lead to win 38-7 at Yulman Stadium on a hot and humid Saturday night.

It was a nonconference game between Tulane, a Football Bowl Subdivision team, and Maine, a Football Championship Subdivision opponent looking to upset a team from the American Athletic Conference with more football scholarships and resources.

Maine (0-2) scored first, taking the opening kickoff 75 yards on a mix of short and mid-range passes and Nigel Beckford runs. With first-and-goal on the Tulane 5, quarterback Dan Collins kept the ball himself on a scramble up the middle. He was hit on the goal line and lost the football, but a replay review confirmed that Collins reached the end zone before the fumble, giving Maine its first touchdown of the season.

A contingent of perhaps a several hundred Maine fans seated in an end zone section cheered. With the return of Beckford after an opening-game suspension and a touted defense that held FBS opponent Boston College in check for three quarters of a 24-3 loss, there was hope. Tulane was outscored 102-17 by Duke and Georgia Tech in its first two games.

That hope died quickly. Tulane (1-2) scored 24 unanswered points in the first half on long drives and big plays. Tailback Sherman Badie stepped away from a tackler in the middle of the line to race 56 yards for Tulane’s second touchdown late in the second quarter. He was untouched beyond the line of scrimmage.


“They were gashing us,” said Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove. “They called a good play for the defense we were in. We had a guy out of position.”

Two minutes later, Tanner Lee found a wide-open Teddy Veal for a 39-yard touchdown. Veal had separated himself from defensive back Mozai Nelson, a redshirt freshman. The inexperienced Nelson wasn’t within five yards of Veal.

Just before halftime and after Maine’s defense held at the Tulane 16, the Black Bears called a 30-second timeout, playing for a good punt return and a possible quick scoring strike or field goal. Instead, Justin Flores’ fair catch backfired. The ball went untouched through his hands.

After an officials review, Maine had the ball on its 28 with less than a minute to play. Collins took a knee and let the clock run out. Tulane had the 24-7 lead and the home crowd of 21,114 on its side.

“They got up on us and just wanted to keep scoring,” said Beckford. “I understand. They were humbled in their two losses.”

Now it was Maine’s turn to be humbled. “We cautioned our guys,” said Cosgrove, referring to Tulane’s two big losses. “Don’t listen to the noise, watch the tape. For us, BC was bigger, more physical. (Tulane) was quicker. We hadn’t played against that.”


Collins was 11 of 25 for 131 yards and two interceptions before he was replaced by Drew Belcher with 9:35 left. Collins left the sideline briefly with what appeared to be a hand injury. Cosgrove said he didn’t know of an injury. “I was tired of the interceptions, that’s why I changed quarterbacks.”

Maine’s defensive front put pressure on Lee. Defensive end Trevor Bates, for one, had Lee in his arms several times. But Lee got passes away. “He had a quick release,” said Bates. “Very quick.”

Tulane took the second-half kickoff and scored, set up in part by another big pass, a 51-yard completion to the Maine 26.

The Black Bears lost control of the clock. Collins couldn’t hand off as often to Beckford, one of Maine’s best big-play threats. Besides, Tulane’s defense was doing a better job containing Beckford’s quick-burst speed.

Late in the third, Dontrell Hilliard turned the corner on the Maine defense and ran 85 yards for yet another Tulane touchdown.

Third-down conversions (3 of 15) killed the Black Bears. Tulane was successful on 10 of 15 third downs.

“We didn’t execute,” said Maine linebacker Randy Samuels. “They did.”

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